Thanks for this guest post by Steve Weinstien, member of our Board of Directors.
One of cycling’s chief pleasures is the sense of being a conquering hero after you’ve completed a ride. Right?
Any ride really, but, especially the one where the terrain is perceived to be alien or forbidding, or just plain daunting.
Being a city road rider, potholes, taxicab doors opening unsuspectingly and cyclists salmoning the wrong way in marked bike lanes come to mind.
Such challenges were the reason I and 31,999 other cyclists mounted our trusty rides last Sunday and participated in the 37th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour through the streets of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. For 40 miles, the streets that make up New York City miraculously belonged only to those of us who rode one, two, and three-wheeled bicycles. There was not a car, cab, bus or truck to be seen. For one day, the streets of Gotham belong to bicycles.
It was an amazing sight. A parade of road bikes, hybrids, tandems, fixies, custom-built and trailers bisecting Manhattan up Sixth Avenue. For half a day, people on bicycles owned Central Park. A procession of bicycles strode on both sides of Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem. Our rest stop in The Bronx was, ironically enough, was on Rider Road. At Astoria Park in Queens, thousands of riders stopped to enjoy bananas, cold water some thoroughly enjoyable musical entertainment and meeting up with friends, old and new.
One of the biggest rushes for me was biking on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway onto the streets of Brooklyn where the kids at the Jewish Day Schools were allowed to stand on stoops and watch the riders whizz by. You see, I know a smattering of Hebrew and slowed down enough as I passed them to shout traditional greetings out to the kids as I rode by. Not something they expected to hear.
The last couple of miles belonged to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and offered a perfect view back at Manhattan. Once on Staten Island, we were all treated to a true New York City party, complete with food, drinks, music, jugglers, stories, and of course, t-shirt and jersey concession stands.
If you ever get the chance, make the pilgrimage to the TD Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City. For that one day, the city, and in my mind, the world, belongs to the bicycle.